Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 19, 2010

FEEL THE BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM.... When President Obama invited congressional Republicans to participate in a bipartisan summit on health care reform, he asked GOP officials to do a couple of things.

The president, for example, urged Republicans to craft their own plan, which could be talked about at the event, and from which good ideas could be drawn. In response, GOP leaders replied that there will be no Republican plan.

Obama also encouraged Republican leaders to come to the table with a constructive attitude, with hopes of finding common ground and a genuine interest in solving an obvious problem. That's not going to happen, either.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) isn't exactly laying the foundation for the bipartisan part of next week's bipartisan health care summit at the White House.

At CPAC this morning, Cantor declared that "we will say no to this health care bill because no is what the American people want."

Well, the American people want a public option, too, but I suppose polls only matter when the public supports the already agreed upon position.

Nevertheless, Cantor's remarks couldn't have been clearer. Less than a week before the summit begins, and several days before Cantor even sees the White House plan, he's declared that Republicans "will say no" -- regardless of what's in it, regardless of what compromises the president is prepared to make.

Hari Sevugan, a spokesperson for the DNC, issued a statement soon after Cantor made his remarks.

"While Eric Cantor and his Republican colleagues have for months repeatedly charged that the President is shutting them out of the process, today's comments clearly demonstrate that Republicans are interested only in politicizing the debate and have no intention in working together on reform that makes health care more stable and affordable.

"We hope other Republican Congressional leaders will rebuke and disavow Mr. Cantor's comments and pledge to work in a truly bipartisan manner. The American people deserve no less."

Steve Benen 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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To quote Eschaton . . . hope is not a policy, it is not a strategy, it is not sufficient. I want a pony; I hope I get one. I won't.

Posted by: Charles Gerlach on February 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

i think we need to take the risk of challenging the American people with a very simple 2010 referendum. Cantor just willfully embraced the "Party of No" label -- indeed, he claims that is what the people want. I think that should be the central national-level theme. Ask the American people if Cantor is correct.

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 19, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Like this hasn't been obvious since the Rs said they were going to "break" Obama, make HCR his Waterloo.


Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on February 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

It is nice to see that Cantor and the Republicans have decided that the current system WITHOUT ANY CHANGES is the best system.

I always thought that the publicans thought that tort reform was needed to make our system better. However, they are too chicken to even use their magic answers to everything: tort reform and lower taxes.

Posted by: neil wilson on February 19, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, this is perfect. They've point blank said that they will not compromise, and since reconciliation is back on the table, then lets shoot for the moon. Let's go single payer. Let's not craft a bill that might get a senator or two. Let's go for broke, and make a bill that is the dream bill that we want.

Posted by: Sisyphus on February 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Can the Dems even get 51 votes in the Senate (that's assuming Reid will even let something be included in the reconciliation bill)

Posted by: curm on February 19, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Via TPM: "Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) led the CPAC crowd in a chant of "No!" to Democratic health care reform."

If this doesn't show up in every Democratic attack ad this fall, I'm going to strangle someone.

Posted by: scrappled on February 19, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

You know...when you don't end a "White House statement" like the one quoted above with,

"Therefore, we're gonna run a health care reform program straight down Eric Cantor's throat and out his ass because what the American people want is decent and affordable health care for themselves, their parents, and their children. Wric Cantor is a god damned liar, and carbunckle on the ass of American history."

Unless you say something like that you just sound like yer whining.

I don't feel real confident that the Hopey-Changey Gang is serious about what they are doing next week.

Posted by: neill on February 19, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Just about everything you wrote is a lie. Only an idealogue would beleive that the government can run a "public Option" (that really means a Government option for those of uyou drinking the liberal cool aid).
Harry Reid came to the Podium with a Democrat plan and said this is what we're doing and if you'll sit in and read it we can claim it was bi-partisan. The party of no has said no to Higher Taxes, % billion in medicare cuts, Government control of the banks, auto industries and medicine and no to the back door bribary the Dems are doing with state officials, drug companies and
Anyone who votes for reconcilliation should be impeached.

Posted by: Byronious on February 19, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't one of the chief complaints - whipped to fever frenzy by constant scaremongering from the Republicans - in those foam-splattered "town hall" meetings last year that "the gubmint" was interfering in people's private lives, and telling them what to do?

What, then, are we to make of the Republicans presuming to speak for all Americans when (a) they're not right (a clear majority once supported the bill with a public option, and I'm sure a majority still supports the healthcare reform effort); and, (b) they're not even the government?

Posted by: Mark on February 19, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Good: The more they say NO and the more they offer NO-THING that fits the guidelines set forth (are there like four of them?), the more this will empower the Democrats to move ahead without them.

The audacity and arrogance is just amazing..and it's just well..really really rude and disrespectful.

Instead of welcoming the chance to share their thoughts, they are choosing stonewalling.

I only hope that the President makes it clear what the guidelines are because he has invited a bunch of babies who don't give a damn about the country or Obama.

I hope he confronts and addresses approaches that are un-acceptable.

As invited guests to a Democratic Majority, as Senators who have already been indulged to the extreme, this is just beyond reproach.

They've shown not one ounce of gratitude.

They're two and three year olds with perpetual temper tantrums, trying to t wear out Daddy and the Democrat's, pushing limits again and again.

Obama thought he only had two children?
Uh..try several dozen--who are now
acting out beyond belief, with such
free-floating opposition.

(Can you say Oppositional Defiant Disorder?)

They should all come dressed with bibs and bring their bottles and scream and cry "waa, waa" and stomp their feet and flail their arms and shout repeatedly: "But I don't want to".

May as well as get real about who they are.

Come on, time to show em up for who they are.

Posted by: Insanity on February 19, 2010 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I'll be very curious to see how this "summit" plays out. It will be a mistake for Obama - or any Dem - to think it will be a repeat of the last schooling that Obama gave them. They will be better prepared, if not to respond on a substantive level, at least to pitch their own position that "America doesn't want this."

That said, he is smarter than the lot of them put together...

Posted by: Homer on February 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Jesse "Senator No" Helms would be proud.

Posted by: MissMudd on February 19, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Harry Reid came to the Podium with a Democrat plan and said this is what we're doing and if you'll sit in and read it we can claim it was bi-partisan."

Really? Were you there? Gee, it's rare we actually get a visit from a Republican senator. Still, I can tell by your atrocious spelling that you're probably genuine.

By the way, that persistent use of the word "Democrat" when it should be "Democratic" is just pathetic. That and the fact that the President mispronounced the word "corpsman" is all you've got. I don't know why you get out of bed in the morning, it's a tribute to your stubbornness.

Posted by: Mark on February 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like the children in the Tea Party of No are against "bribary".

Posted by: Bob M on February 19, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Byronius, just about everything you wrote is a stinking, steaming pile of horseshit. Only a deluded moron thinks that the insurance companies, who are raising your rates 20-40% this year, won't fuck you in the ass when you file a major claim. And on top of that, you get to pay for their profit margins and inflated compensation. Wow, you're a fucking genius.

The current HRC plan has been marginalized exactly because the Democrats have needlessly given into GOP demands without any quid pro quo (you better look that up) whatsoever.

Although I'm sure you use the term constantly, you couldn't define "socialism" if your life depended on it. Name one instance where the government has assumed control of the means of production. Yeah, I thought so.

I'll agree with one thing, I don't like the deals cut with the banks and PHRMA, but your nuts if you think the GOP hasn't been doing this for decades. They set the standard.

Oh, and I'm sure you were ready to impeach Bush and the GOP when the passed all the tax cuts for the rich through reconciliation. You weren't? I guess it's because you're a FUCKING HYPOCRITE.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 19, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's going to be awfully hard for Obama and - more pointedly - the Congressional Democrats to break through the Republican narrative here: if the bill the White House is starting from essentially restates most of the House and Senate bills, with some minor adjustments (though clearly, the big question will be how it's paid for)... then Republicans have a point in saying you don't need a meeting for that. The people who need to get on the same page and figure out how to pass that thing are Democrats, whether it's reconciliation or filibuster reform or something else. The assumption, on the left - especially from Villagers like Benen - is that the problem on the existing bill is the sales job; sell it better... and everyone will love it. Well, that's what next week is looking like, and we'll see if it works... but I wouldn't get my hopes up too high. There are good reasons, whatever your politics, to see the existing House and Senate bills as not enough reform of current problems, too expensive, and lacking in key policy elements that will have to be addressed. Republicans will, most likely, be able to raise the policy concerns that drive their "party of no" unity they have opposing this bill, which will only give their naysaying teeth, not reduce their credibility. Challenging them to produce an alternative, really, won't matter if the issue is an already existing - and unpopular - bill. They will not lose ground opposing it. They may not gain ground by not producing an alternative... but it strikes me that sticking to the script of the existing healthcare legislation will not be a net plus for Dems, especially in Congress. And not because I want this to happen; I'd prefer a real, productive discussion on the issues in heathcare and what steps can be taken to solve them. More theater, more rhetoric devoid of policy specifics... helps no one, and worse, does nothing to improve our healthcare problems. And yeah, Republicans could come off looking bad for just saying no... but pinning your hopes to that scenario strikes me as liberals wishing, yet again, that our side wins arguments on our good intentions. I'm not sure we'll ever let go of that one. I don't even think we should have to... but it's still wishful.

Posted by: weboy on February 19, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"We hope other Republican Congressional leaders will rebuke and disavow Mr. Cantor's comments

Oh, have they discovered a breed of winged pigs that was previously unknown? 'Cuz that'll happen when pigs fly.

I really, really hope this is the opening salvo of the "we offered to talk, and they said no" campaign from the White House to toughen up and go for some real democratic (and Democratic) reform. I haven't been impressed so far, but this could just be part of lining up the target just-so before bringing down the hammer.

Posted by: biggerbox on February 19, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

How about a little visual aid at the summit. The Democratic plan on one slide and a blank screen on the other.

I am sure the Republicans will walk out in protest, but that makes for good tv too.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Every time a Republican opens their mouth to speak to what the American people want, it's a sure bet they'll express the exact opposite of what a majority of Americans want.

Posted by: June on February 19, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Did you read the poll indicating that Harry Reid's personal fortunes might be helped greatly if he supports a public option? There are a lot of pundits who actually think that the opposition to the Senate bill reflects nothing but tea party opposition to any health care reform. They conveniently overlook that a majority of Americans want a public option and oppose a total sell out to big insurance.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 19, 2010 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm choosing to believe that Byronious is a wingnut parody, because it's too hard for me to believe anybody that stupid can figure out how to use the google.

Posted by: Kris on February 19, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Party of No.

No ideas.
No plans.
No policies.
No clue.


Posted by: Zorro on February 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I was going to add "no calories", but then I remembered Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: Mark on February 19, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that Obama's strategy is to give Republicans every opportunity to put forward their proposals, and to have their say. When/if they fail to put forward any substantive proposals that respond to the agenda he defined, and have used up their time saying whatever they want, then he'll be able to say (directly to the Republicans, indirectly to the American people and to nervous congressional Democrats) that his proposal is the best option available and Congress should finish the job by passing health care reform using any legal means necessary, including reconciliation.

Ron Byers, I like your suggestion about visual aids, and I hope someone at the White House is already working on them. I hope they're working not only on charts and graphs, but also video and web tools (e.g., enter your family size and income, and find out how much you save under "Obamacare" on a basic family health insurance plan).

Posted by: massappeal on February 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"The American people deserve no less."

Love the double meaning there.

Posted by: josef on February 19, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK
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